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Dhruv Garg

[TR] Silver Peak - Northwest Ridge 03/17/2018

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Trip: Silver Peak - Northwest Ridge

Trip Date: 03/17/2018

Trip Report:

This was the second week in a row when the avalanche risk was comparatively low according to NWAC. After going through the options, we decided to tackle Silver Peak via the Northwest Ridge. The mountain tingled our curiosity since it was ranked in the list of most unsuccessful attempts (along with Mt. Si, which dampens the list’s credibility somewhat).

The road to the trailhead was snowed in and forced us to park a little way off on the forest road (1850’). We started our jaunt up the road at 7.30 and met up with the Annette Lake trail. At 9 AM and 3300’, we decided to get off the trail and start our climb up to the ridgeline. The steep section up the hill required us to put on snowshoes and we decided to take a short break. After some GUs and granola bars, we put our legs to work and got to the foot of the ridgeline around 4600’. Eventually, the team got onto the ridge but was forced to reassess the route due to the precarious cornices and knife edges. Eventually, it was decided to downclimb to the bowl to our left (4850’) and find a safer spot somewhere ahead to regain the ridge. At 5100’ in the ski bowl, we found a feasible way on to the ridge with a climbable route to the summit. However, the downclimb in snowshoes had pushed back our timeline and it was already noon when we began our climb from the bowl.

It was the last 300 feet up the mountain that gave us an idea of why the mountain ranks high in the list of unsuccessful attempts, especially in the winter. A teammate of ours decided to stay back a little above 5300’ as he wasn’t comfortable with an exposed traverse in snowshoes. Beyond that, we had to downclimb a couple of exposed slopes to keep away from cornices and try to find a route amongst the trees. The fact that we had snowshoes made it that much harder as sections with consolidated and fluffy snow were equally abundant. After some precarious moves, we finally found a straight-shot up the last 50 feet on the mountain and were happily snapping summit pictures around 1.30. Granite (with its avalanche chutes in full glory), Chair and Kaleetan peak were clearly visible amongst the clouds.

Our way down was via the standard west slope all the way to Annette Lake and take the trail all the way down. We had texted our teammate to downclimb and meet us at the lake. Until the tree line, the crampons let us make good time. Like the way up, the last 300 feet down to the lake were just painful and slow as we postholed and made excruciatingly slow progress. Despite that, we met up with our teammate at the lake at 3.45. With the hard part of the climb all behind us, we took a long break and put on our snowshoes again for the long trudge back.

The struggle ended a little after 6 and we were on our way back to civilization. Like most other climbs, it was a good day in the mountains regardless of the struggle.

 

Trip times:

Annette Lake TH to toe of the ridgeline (~4600') - 3 hours

Toe of ridgeline to atop the ridge (~5300') - 1.30 hours

5300' to summit (5607') - 1.15 hours

Summit to car - 4.45 hours

 

For Silver Peak GPX, Silver Peak Peakbagger TR. This GPX is filtered to the show the straight-forward route. For the unscrubbed version, SIlver Peak GPX.

For more visuals on the route, Flickr/Silver Peak.

 

39087335660_0f209a1023_c.jpg
downclimbing the ridgeline in to the ski bowl

40896774351_8ffd5f2ff0_c.jpg
navigating the last few hundred feet to the summit atop the ridgeline

40003204385_78405da229_c.jpg
making our way down the west slope

Gear Notes:
Snowshoes, crampons

Approach Notes:
The road is snowed in and might require a short walk to the TH. The Annette Lake trail is nicely consolidated.

Edited by Dhruv Garg
URLs for the embedded photos needed to be updated
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